Not at all so hard-to-reach: Same-sex attracted men in Dar es Salaam Academic Article uri icon


  • Based on research in Tanzania, this paper critically examines the widely circulating notion that African same-sex attracted men are hard-to-reach individuals and populations. Despite expectations to the contrary, it was neither time consuming nor difficult to identify and get to know same-sex attracted men in Dar es Salaam. On the contrary, a large and diverse group of such men could readily be encountered, befriended and involved in HIV-related research. The fieldwork was characterised by communicative openness and the researcher was treated with immense kindliness, hospitality and inclusivity. While we may not be in a position to say that the situation is identical everywhere else, we find reason to caution against accepting and propagating unexplained, unexamined and unverified claims to the effect that same-sex attracted men in Africa cannot be reached. We argue that such claims contribute to stigmatise same-sex attracted men and to hinder much-needed HIV-related research and programming.

publication date

  • 2012